Massachusetts Deaths - What else you can try
This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find death information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the death section of the Massachusetts Guided Research page.
Additional online resources
Additional Databases and Online Resources
- 1600s-2017: United States Obituary Notices at FindMyPast ($)
- 1620-1988: Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records at Ancestry ($)
- 1620-1850: Massachusetts, Town Death Records at Ancestry ($)
- 1700-1850: Massachusetts, Compiled Birth, Marriage, and Death Records at Ancestry ($)
- 1841-1910: State of Massachusetts Vital Records at the Massachusetts State Archives
- 1901-1980: Massachusetts, Death Index at Ancestry ($)
- 1935-2014: U.S., Social Security Death Index at Ancestry ($)
- 1936-2007: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index at Ancestry ($)
- 1970-2003: Massachusetts, Death Index at Ancestry ($)
Additional Records with Death Information
Substitute records can contain information about more than one event, and are used when records for an event are not available. Because the substitute records may not be created at the time of the event, it may contain incorrect information. Search for as many substitute records as possible to corroborate information found in substitute records to help improve accuracy.
|Use these substitute records to locate death information about your ancestor:|
|Why to search the records|
|Gravestone inscriptions and cemetery records may include a death date.|
|Church death and burial records may be available when civil death records cannot be found. To access church records, first determine the denomination.|
|Newspapers contain obituaries and death notices. They often include the death date and place of the deceased.|
|Obituaries list date and place of death for the deceased. More recent obituaries may also list other deceased family members.|
|May include death information for servicemen.|
|Family Bibles may include dates and places of death for family members, however the accuracy of this information is contingent upon when the information was recorded.|
Tips for finding deaths
Successfully finding death records in online databases depends on a few key points. Try the following search suggestions:
- Spelling variations. Your ancestor's name may be misspelled. Search with spelling variations for the first and last name of your ancestor.
- Search given name. Search by given name (leave out the last name) with the approximate date of birth or death.
- Add information. For common names, add more information to narrow the search such as approximate birth date or parent's names if known.
- Date range. Expand the date range of the search by 5 years.
- Search state. Search using the state name only instead of by county.
Why the record may not exist
Known Record Gaps
- 1635 Death records were kept but registration was inconsistent in some areas.
- 1841 Statewide Registration.
Records Published by FamilySearch
Collection coverage tables show the places and time periods of original records published by FamilySearch. For any FamilySearch collections you did not find your ancestor in, check the coverage table for gaps in the online collection. If the time period or location your ancestor lived in is missing from the collection, it may require searches in records found at original repository or finding substitute records for the event.
The following counties had record loss. Click on the county for more information.